Saturday, 30 January 2010

On The Edge by Ilona Andrews

September 2009, Ace Books
336 pages, Paperback
Personal Copy

Fantasy (possible Dark Fantasy, possibly urban fantasy)

Cushions: 4
Daggers: 2
Paperclips: 3
Smiles: 5
Tissues: 3
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary from Ilona Andrews website

Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.

Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).

But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them—or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it . . .

Sometimes I think about a title in depth both before and after I read a book. For On the Edge I thought about the title about 2 minutes ago when I walked down the stairs with it in my hand. I feel that On The Edge describes how Rose lives life: on the edge of the borders, on the edge of a potentially incredible power, on the edge of being both a sister and a parent to her brothers, on the edge of doing things she would rather not do, on the edge of poverty etc.

Rose's power is flashing. Where she lives, most flashers have a low grade of power. The strength of a flash is determined by its power. I won't spoil the details, but Rose has an usually high strength of flash. She knows this - and yet she doesn't become arrogant. She doesn't misuse her power, she doesn't use it to get ahead. She's genuinely modest about her abilities. To her, its not a big deal - she just practices a lot.

With the arrival of Declan, her life changes. Unless she heeds Declan, her family could suffer. Her brothers mean the world to her. I love how family-centred On The Edge is. Rose has responsibilities - she isn't like a fair number of heroines who can go traipsing around the world without a second thought (well, there are usually one or two thoughts of what they are leaving behind, but generally they go ahead with the idea). Rose's priority is to protect her brothers, and keep them safe. She'll do this even if it costs her dearly. I don't just mean the usual cost of life. She won't die (this isn't a major spoiler because there is second book!). The cost to Rose's life is becoming someone she doesn't want to be. Her life isn't perfect before Declan's arrival, but she's happy enough. As a blueblood, Declan's life is rather different. And due to a wager Rose agreed upon with him, Rose is in danger of having to endure life as a blueblood forever.

I adore Rose's character. She is so caring and compassionate towards her brothers, who are by no means without magic. I like how the story focused on the growth of their powers, the strain it brings to Rose's life. I really liked Declan's role in her brother's powers. Declan isn't the big bad wolf Rose thinks he is. He has a lot to offer Rose. What I'm most looking forward in the second book is how Rose adjusts to Declan's world. In On The Edge, Declan was in her world. Events lead Rose to his world: the end chapter proves that the image a person holds of society can be completely wrong.

This is an emotional read: I was tearing up with fear, sadness and happiness throughout the book. It's a story which really touched my heart, and one I know I'll read again and again.

Ilona Andrews has a comprehensive website here.

I managed to interview Ilona Andrews here.

Be sure to check out Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series: Magic Bites, Magic Burns and Magic Strikes.


Becky said...

I've not heard of this book before. It sounds fab. If it brought you to tears, it must be good. Great review.

Yunaleska said...

I tear up easily. Including over video games. :D I like books I can connect with.